16 Months, 1 Week, 6 Days

Thankfully Henry's therapy appointment went better this week. His therapist seemed to give him a little more time to warm up, and Henry was at least not in meltdown the entire time. That's not to stay he's cooperative. He threw his fair share of temper tantrums when she asked him to do certain things.

She said it was great he's standing and walking, and in some ways it's amazing because his "form" isn't at all normal and he's pretty amazingly cheated his way into making something work. He doesn't stick his butt out like he's supposed to-- i guess this helps build his quad muscles. Somehow he's managing to both stand and walk completely upright which isn't good for long-term development of more advanced skills like running and jumping.

Sigh. So no mention of a quitting time at this point-- we havehttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.spell.gif
Check Spelling new exercises we're supposed to work on with Henry that he of course hates. He really just likes to play with his toys by himself and occasionally talk to you about them or ask you for help. Having to stand with him and try to get him to interact in a specific way isn't easy.

I did get some pictures of Henry walking tonight. He was just learning the sign for hat and was really excited to wear a hat of his own-- thus the fisherman look!


16 Months, 1 Week, 4 Days

We just had the most wonderfully relaxed evening i think i could ever hope for. It was such a Norman Rockwell picture that i can't help wondering what upheavals tomorrow will bring.

It rained all day, so i picked JT and Henry up after work and we all came home together. In the last few days, Henry has developed more of an independent streak. Not in a willful-way, just in the sense that he's happy going from one room to another playing with his toys (actual or re-purposed).

Soon after we got home JT started working on getting the pizza dough made. I needed to get the laundry put away and things picked up, etc. Henry was incredibly happy to just play in the kitchen or his playroom and occasionally check in with one of us. He ate dinner and although his appetite seems to have waned a bit, was just in the best mood.

Brenda told me when i picked Henry up that he "was walking all over the place" today. I had a million questions, but she confirmed that he was walking unassisted-- primarily to move Mia from HIS kitchen. I was so excited to hear it but when i tried to get him to walk at home he seemed less than interested.

After dinner though, he was in his room holding on to his rocking chair and i could tell he wanted to go over to his bookshelf. I was about midway between the two and i asked Henry if he wanted to walk to his books. He just started out on his own and i was no closer than 2-3 feet. He walked about halfway and stood for a second and then made it the rest of the way without any help from me! I couldn't believe it. This has to go down as Henry's first true steps.

He played some more and then we started his nighttime routine which now includes a lot of books-- he's gotten really into them lately. He went to sleep without a peep and JT and i were left to enjoy our dinner. Truly i couldn't ask for more from family life.

16 Months, 1 Week, 3 Days

I've been really working with Henry on signing since he turned 15 months old, because it seemed like he hit a phase where he was frustrated because he couldn't communicate what he wanted. I decided to make a concerted effort starting with consistently using a few signs-- more, milk, and eat and by showing him a very short video segment every day or so. It really didn't take long for him to catch on to those first few signs. Since then (a few weeks) he's had this mini-explosion.

Yesterday he heard an airplane and did the sign for it-- which is one i do but didn't expect him to really pick up on. He also finally started signing please. He added these to his signs for dog, bird, diaper, water, and all-finished. It's so exciting to really be communicating with him and we hope to keep expanding his vocabulary.


Finished! At least the kitchen...

They've completed the work on the kitchen, effective this pm. I kept thinking i would post the pictures i took last night-- but JT was fully using the kitchen (he made traditional vietnamese soup (Pho) and lime granita last night) and things looked a bit cluttered. They are just about done loading all their tools in the van so i decided to wait and show you the gleaming kitchen shots.

Although we've had a functional kitchen for a week now, it's going to be really nice not to have grit as our secret ingredient for all dishes. They're off on another job for a week and then they'll be back to work on the bathroom. I think it turned out absolutely beautiful!

We have houseguests coming into town tomorrow. Our friends Matt and Marisa who we vacationed with last summer in CO. We haven't seen them since and we're really looking forward to catching up with them and introducing them to the much happier Young Master Bloch. When they spent time with him last summer he was at his peak of crying, crying and a little bit of sleeping. Thankfully he does a LOT more now and there's very little crying (although some whining which we're trying to address).


16 Months, 6 Days

Okay, slightly late. JT wasn't feeling well and went to bed early. I hated to wake him up with key clacking so i postponed this post until this morning.

Henry's day started out fairly terribly. We had his therapy appointment went his new therapist. I think in the long-run she's going to be better than our most recent therapist because she pushes him more. But, she didn't do a whole lot to acclimate him to her as a new person and immediately jumped in with stuff he didn't want to do. The result-- almost a full hour of meltdown. By the last 5 minutes she did get him to stand on his own and take a few steps-- i would have said 4-5 she said 7. I had told her he could do these things but i think she was not believing me, because he wouldn't even stand up. It was absolutely terrible. She did tell me to get away from the walker and even his elephant push toy. We're to try and get him to walk holding two small toys-- one in each hand. We keep our hands hovering near his hip bones so he has some security. She said we'd need to work through some of the fight he's putting up so that we can get him over this hump.

I was dreading it. Then last evening i gave him two of his little farm animals he likes to play with and he walked a fur piece. It was far enough that i couldn't count steps-- from the wall to the bed which is about 10 feet or so. He did it again this morning. Granted he walks like Frankenstein with his arms held straight out in front of him but he's walking and so happy with himself. I told Brenda about it and she's going to work with him as well. Hopefully this is a bit of a breakthrough.

Brenda said that Henry started telling her when his diaper needs to be changed. I asked her how he does that and she said he points at his diaper repeatedly and then starts trying to take it off when it's dirty. I've been working on the sign for diaper which looks like pulling the tabs off on the sides of your hips, so maybe this is his interpretation. I take it as a good sign, because it's the first step towards being able to potty train. Not much point if he can't even tell or doesn't care when he needs to be changed!

They are painting the kitchen today so i'll post pictures tonight. It should look just about done in the pictures-- tomorrow is just for all the little finish stuff.


16 Months, 5 Days

When i go to pick Henry up from Ms. Brenda's it just feels like he's older. When i used to arrive, Brenda would be holding Henry most of the time and he would transfer over to me, now he's usually standing somewhere playing and when he sees me quickly crawls over to me-- or not depending on how good the toys are!

Not too much more to report. He learned the sign for "dog" over the weekend. With all the dogs in our neighborhood, that one gets a lot of use. He might be trying to sign cat, but it's inconsistent at best. His favorite sign is still "more" which he uses exclusively to mean "i want something, preferably graham crackers, to eat."


16 Months, 3 Days

We've had a fun weekend catching up with a friend from DC before he moves out to California. Henry was 3 months old the last time he saw Ben, so they've had some catching up to do. We all headed over to friends house for a BBQ on Saturday and then after Henry and dad went home for a boys' night, I got to stay out to play poker with the adults. I only lost 40 cents so it wasn't too shabby for me. Today we took advantage of the absolutely beautiful weather and headed out to the Lake. Henry was really happy to sit on the blanket with the rest of us eating strawberries and chips and playing with empty cups-- really there is no better way to pass an afternoon.

Henry walked a couple times with his "Push Along Happy Elephant" toy. It's not a walker, but a popcorn popper-type toy. There's no stability to it at all, just something akin to Dumbo's feather. He's gotten more brave about standing on his own as well and figured out how to get DOWN the stairs after mastering going up several weeks ago. Unfortunately, he also suffered his first real injury. He put his hand on an envelope as he started to crawl and his hand slid out from under him. He bruised his chin pretty badly, and i know it really hurt, which makes me feel terrible everytime i look at it.

We were completely excited to have both our countertops and sinks installed on Friday. The countertop installation went smoothly and our contractors finished with their other job a day early and were here to supervise the counter installation and get back to work on the kitchen. I think i finally picked a winner for paint and we decided to select some tile for a backsplash so hopefully we're pretty much done making decisions on the kitchen. I'll take pictures soon.


15 Months, 4 Weeks, 2 Days

Henry had his 15 month check-up today (just by the hair on his chinny-chin-chin) and things went swimmingly. We saw another Dr. in the practice this time as Henry's Dr. was on vacation. Dr. P had been recommended to us by a neighbor and i really, really liked her. I feel like maybe she's in between our original "so laid back he didn't diagnose Henry" Pediatrician and our new "aggressive is the best policy" Ped.

Dr. P delivered the good news that he's gained 4 lbs. since his 12 month check-up which is pretty remarkable since this is typically the time toddlers weight gain really slows down. She didn't fixate on specific percentages but did tell us he was in the 10-25% percentile which is pretty big news. As you might recall Henry has struggled in the below 5th percentile since he was 6 months old.

She said it sounded like he'll walk when he's ready and that i just takes some kids a little longer to want to take that leap and move from crawling to walking. Keeping him in therapy and encouraged is the best strategy, which she said we were doing. I mentioned that i thought the combination of his gross motor delays and his laid back temperament had led to him always being behind physically. She picked him up naked to weigh him and he flashed a big grin at her. She said "he really is laid-back, i'm not sure i've met another 15-month old that would let me do this with mom clear across the room."

He had to have two shots so his leg was a little sore. His afternoon nap got thrown off too but hopefully he'll have a decent night and make up for it tomorrow.


15 Months, 4 Weeks, 1 Day

Henry entered an insistent phase with his signs today. He mostly uses eat and more and milk if you mention it or he sees a cup laying around. Tonight as soon as we got home he started signing eat. I tried to put him off a bit because it's hard to tell if he's really hungry, or if he's just excited to be able to communicate. After playing for a bit he was still signing eat pretty pointedly, so i got him a stick of string cheese and a cup of water. We headed out to the backyard while he sat and ate and played while i did some weeding.

Everything was fine while he had his snack, but once it was finished he started signing eat and more over and over again. I kept telling him that we would eat dinner later but that he had just finished his snack-- no luck. So, i packed up the garden tools and we headed inside where he ate about 5 crackers (mind you dinner is in about 30 minutes). He seemed temporarily satisfied, so we went outside and he walked back and forth in front of our house with the walker. He did so well and seemed pretty excited that he was propelling himself outside! I'm trying everything i can to encourage him to walk because i think he's just pretty complacent with crawling.

After 10 minutes or so of walking and hanging around outside Henry started signing eat again so we went in and played a bit more. At 6 on the dot he crawled to the kitchen, pulled up on his chair and started signing eat ferociously. So much for putting dinner off a little. Of course once there it's not like he's so hungry he'll eat whatever you give him. He pretty much rejected the chicken i gave him but went crazy for the corn and hummus. We have his Dr. appointment tomorrow so i'm so curious to see how much he weighs now.


15 Months, 4 Weeks

Although i feel like we haven't made much forward momentum in the walking department for a week or two, Henry is accumulating fun new little skills. When we got home this evening he was speaking in paragraphs-- not just his normal sentences. They were all still gibberish but they're definitely getting longer and more complicated. I can't wait until we decide what it all means.

He is also quite a pro with his clothes. If you take his arms out of his shirt sleeves, he'll pull it over his head no problem; pull down his pants and he'll daintily step out of them, first one foot and then another.

I think we might be witnessing the next iteration of telling him no. At our most recent stage you told him no and he cocked an eyebrow, smiled and proceeded willfully to do what you had just told him not to. When i told him no forcefully tonight, he burst out in tears and threw himself on the floor in full tantrum style. So, at least he gets it!


15 Months, 3 Weeks, 6 Days

Thankfully we seem to have passed our first phase of not being able to eat out. For about 2 weeks Henry was just dreadful when we went out. Antsy, lots of shrieking and eating nothing. He still tends to pick at his food, but thankfully has regained his good humor. I don't know if the signing has helped eliminate some of his frustration or not, but he's very good at letting you know when he's hungry or wants more of something. We're working on some more sophisticated signs like "cracker" and "please," but for now, eat is better than nothing!

Henry has been saying a new word lately which sounds a lot like "avi." He says it all the time throughout the day and i think it's actually probably incorrect to say it's a word, because he seems to use it to mean much more than one thing or desire. I just wish i knew where it came from or what it means to him, because we hear it literally all day long.


15 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

I know this is a little late to really count as my headline but i've been out of my normal posting groove so i thought i would jump back with a mid-day missive.

Last night was very busy, because we went downtown and met JT after work, and then walked along the river to look at the Tall Shipsthat are here in Chicago. We had a nice walk although Henry was non-plussed by the ships. We got on the subway, grabbed the car and headed home. Henry had been a little lethargic while we were out but he perked up after dinner and played happily while i went to get some dinner and some food to have around the house (can i tell you how SICK i am of anything that goes in the microwave!). Then our friends came over to hang out and have a drink. It was a little past my bedtime when i did get to sleep and today has been so overcast that i'm not sure i ever actually woke up.

Our kitchen is currently on hiatus while we wait for the counter-tops to be installed next Friday and our contractors to finish their other kitchen. It's definitely taking longer than we had hoped but when i think once they're back things will go fairly quickly to finish the rest of the kitchen and then do the bathroom. I really hope by the end of August the kitchen is done and then maybe the first week of September, the bathroom is as well. To be able to cook again!


15 Months, 3 Weeks

Henry had a good and uneventful day. He played happily at Brenda's and was showing off his "high-five" skills to the kids at daycare. When we got home he immediately went over to his booster seat. I thought he was just playing with the straps like he'll do every so often but then i realized he was actually trying to climb into the chair.

I asked if he wanted to eat and he enthusiastically signed "eat." I gave him a snack of several graham cracker sticks and some string cheese and he ate it all with gusto. I managed to get him interested in playing with his toys for about 20 minutes. At 6:00 on the dot he went back to his booster seat and started asking to eat again.

I believe he is entering another growth spurt and thankfully has regained his appetite. He ate most of a 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a lot of corn (which he kept asking for more of) and of course blueberries. He eats mountains of blueberries at every meal he can and is going to be so sad when fresh blueberry season is over.

They finished laying all the tile today. Supposedly tomorrow is grout, lighting and dishwasher and fridge installation. I hope so. As soon as they're out of here i plan to wash all the floors and hopefully get the last of the food and dishes out of the dining room.

No Henry pic today so here's one of the new floors.


15 Months, 2 Weeks, 6 Days

We had a full weekend and Henry was plum-tuckered by this evening. Last night we went to a good friends' house and JT got to live vicariously through their kitchen by whipping up a feast for all of us. Henry got to play with his pals Helen and Carys and went to bed peacefully in the guest room in his pack-n-play.

It's always so funny when we wake him for the drive back to our house. I've watched other families go through this when we have people over to our house and the kids are either barely awake or completely asleep as they are transferred to the car-seat and then back into bed at home.

Not Henry. Once he's awake he stays awake as until we get home. He's usually subdued in the car but wide-eyed and sometimes making funny noises. As soon as we get home we put him in his crib and he slips back to sleep without a problem. The routine seems to work for him at least.

This morning we met friends for brunch and got to meet their new 3-month old little boy. They have a 2-year old so we formed quite the brunch bunch but actually managed to get in a fair amount of adult conversation.

After Henry's one nap of the day (strange schedule today!) we went to Home Depot to pick out grout and drawer pulls and become perplexed in the paint aisle again. They laid about half the tile floor today and i think are going to finish it tomorrow or Tuesday, at which point the refrigerator and dishwasher will be permanently installed. Then i believe they'll be gone for the rest of the week finishing their other kitchen. When they come back to us, they'll finish the kitchen once the countertop is installed and then start the bathroom.

Here's Henry's wonderful do after he styled it himself after his bath.


15 Months, 2 Weeks, 4 Days

Henry seems to really be catching on to the sign-language. I talked to Brenda about it and i think she started using it with the kids as well. Henry signed eat to me without my prompting it and also signed sleep, milk and more. It's so cool that we finally broke through with him. I'm excited for him to learn the signs for some animals because he loves animals and seems to talk excitedly all about them when he sees dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, you name it. Now at least i'll know that's what he's really focused on.

It's really cool to see how much spoken language he understands as well. He's understood the idea of bouncing for awhile but it's becoming one of his favorite things. When he's on the bed, if you ask him to bounce he will, and he gets extremely happy.


15 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days

We spent time in the backyard again after getting home from Brenda's. The pool had warmed up but not enough to meet Henry's expectations because he still mainly refused to sit in the pool unless he was sitting on my lap. He was happy as a clam to stand holding on to Dad's knee and repeatedly reach down in the water for toys we dropped for him.

Thunderstorms have moved in and are supposed to be bringing some relief from all the high temperatures. Right now it's just really steamy, but hopefully by morning it will have cooled back down to reasonable.

We're so excited that Henry seems to have ended his hunger strike. For awhile there (several weeks) he just didn't eat much of anything, at almost every meal. A bite here, a nibble there and that was it, the rest when on the ground. I would offer him food at snacks as well and he just wasn't very interested so i figured he wasn't starving. We discovered he loves blueberries over the weekend so last night for dinner he had macaroni and cheese, blueberries and peas and he ate all that i prepared for him (well, there were some peas left over). He seems to have repeated this at all meals and Brenda said he was doing better too.

Now we have 2 weeks for him to catch back up before the big 15-month weigh-in happens !


15 Months, 2 Weeks, 1 Day

The lull in posting and pictures are due to the heat. Did i mention it's hot? Yesterday and today were both right around 100 and tomorrow it's supposed to be a very cool 96.

Although they got the cabinets up and we can start putting things away it was just too hot to face last night (we stayed hunkered in the air conditioning part of the house) and tonight i got the mugs put away and that was the end of that.

We did come home and fill-up Henry's little pool with water to play it after i picked him up from Brenda's. With water straight from the hose it was definitely cold, but really refreshing. Henry didn't exactly think so. He would stand in the water and reach down and splash his hands but refused to sit in the water. I even brought out his baby float and he wouldn't sit in it either. We're leaving it out until at least tomorrow so it should warm up a bit. Perhaps tomorrow he'll be swimming like a duck in it.

Some of you may remember that i had decided to start using signs with Henry really early on (i think around 4 mos). Well Henry never really seemed to catch on and i'm sure i wasn't as good at always using them, because he didn't seem to ever want to use them. As we started having more temper tantrums though, i decided i would re-invigorate the signing now that i know he's capable. I bought a video called Baby Signing Time and we've been watching a segment each day. It's the only time i've ever sat down and shown him something on tv and it's pretty funny to watch. The segments we've been watching focus on eating/drinking signs, more, and all finished. He's actually been signing milk and all finished for awhile but it took some time before we were sure he really meant what he was saying. Now when you say milk he signs milk and gets upset if you don't follow with MILK.

Tonight we came in from the pool and i needed to change his swim diaper before feeding him dinner. He got so upset when i layed him on the changing table. I told him that i just needed to get him out of his wet clothes and then i would give him milk and we would eat. He signed both of those back to me and calmed right down.

So, we have every plan to keep working through these signing videos to see if there are more that can make everyone's life easier!